7 years ago
February 21, 2017

How to Motivate Your Sales Team

Motivated sales people are more productive and more engaged. Learn how to motivate your sales team for maximum performance. Read on.

Rhys Metler

Motivation matters. The ability to motivate is one of the top sales leadership qualities that sales managers should have. Motivating your sales team can help you improve morale, keep employees engaged, boost performance, and enhance productivity. On the other hand, disengaged workers waste an average of two hours of every workday and cost the economy a whopping $300 billion per year.

Even though motivating your employees is critical to the overall success and achievements of your sales team, it’s easier said than done. In fact, 30% of managers say that motivating workers is the hardest part of their jobs. This is likely because they use a carrot and stick approach to create desired behaviours by blending punishments with rewards. And this only works for the simplest and most straightforward of tasks. Or, they use money as the sole motivator when other incentives are far more important to sales people.

If you’re having trouble keeping your sales people motivated, and you’re feeling the negative effects of this lack of engagement at work, then use these tips, displayed in order of importance, to get them motivated again.


Did you know that praise is the most effective motivator among employees? They value praise over cash bonuses, pay raises, and stock options. To motivate your sales team, the first thing you need to do is offer your reps the praise they want to hear. Learn each rep’s current tasks and be specific when giving praise and positive feedback. In addition, use an analytical and discerning tone while giving praise for best results. Make sure their hard work is noticed and appreciated, and they’ll keep working hard. If their achievements aren’t appreciated, they’ll stop trying.


The second most effective motivator is attention from leaders. Your sales people want to feel valued—they want to know that someone’s paying attention and that someone cares about their actions and inactions. And they want to feel like part of a team. Take time out of your day to have one-to-one meetings. Give your sales people purpose at the organization by explaining how their specific role aligns to the bigger picture. Use key results and hierarchical objectives to help them better understand their important position within the company. Keep your employees informed about your company tactics, strategies, and goals. Include them.


It might seem counter-intuitive, but by giving your sales people more work and responsibility, you can actually motivate them and challenge them to do better. People want to feel challenged at work. Many sales people leave their current jobs because they are bored or don’t feel fulfilled. They’ll work harder if they feel proud of their work—and the harder a project is and the more responsibility they have, the prouder they’ll feel. Don’t be afraid to give your sales team more demanding tasks. Ask them for suggestions and opinions, and take them seriously. And give your reps the freedom to decide for themselves. Give them autonomy.


Though money isn’t everything, creating a good bonus plan can make a difference. A good bonus that clearly stands out from regular pay and that rewards realistic, challenging, and specific goals can effectively motivate and increase employee performance by up to 44%. Regularly review and adjust your reward structure as needed.

Pay Raise

A pay raise alone won’t usually motivate your sales team for the long term if you don’t also include praise, attention, and responsibility, but it can work well in conjunction with these other factors. However, the pay raise will need to be approximately 10% of the rep’s salary to make a real impact on performance. The amount and terms should be discussed with the employee beforehand, and the raise should be directly correlated with employee results and development. If you give pay raises for no reason, your sales people won’t feel like they actually have to improve their performance to be rewarded with more money.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.